Recently, I participated in a webinar about a new Agile Publishing model.

The concept behind Agile Publishing is fairly straightforward: engage the consumer in the creation process to improve the end result.

This concept isn’t new, of course. Product developers have long used such tools as focus groups and consumer panels — even secret shoppers, in some cases — to improve their products. But this is not typically a tool publishers use.

That’s likely to change as more of the publishing industry realizes that, in this electronic age of publishing, consumers’ opinions have a larger effect than ever on the bottom line.

Of course, I might be biased. After all, WMG Publishing is no stranger to this concept thanks to our very own forward thinkers, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

Rusch has used this model for years on her blog, The process has generated not only hundreds of blog posts but also The Freelancer’s Survival Guide (now in its second edition) and nine Freelancer short books on topics ranging from How to Quit Your Day Job to How to Make Money.

These books and blogs benefitted from the dynamic back and forth with her readers, who suggested topics, ask questions and engaged in general discussion.

She continues to work with the process today with her weekly blog, the Business Rusch, and you can bet more books will follow.

Smith uses a similar process for his nonfiction books, including the 2012 Edition of Think Like a Publisher, which WMG published just last month in trade paperback and e-book form. As he says on his blog regarding the book’s launch, at, “Comments on each chapter are welcome and help us all learn…”

By evolving these books in a public forum, the creative process benefits from the collaboration of writer and readers to make for a better end product.

And that benefits everyone.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.